Wednesday, July 20, 2016
My niece is most definitely in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is more upsetting because we should be able to do something...yet we can't. Her mother is angry, sad, and frustrated. I feel the same--but those words don't really my feelings adequately. Like with my dad, these are feelings I don't know that I've had very often. You want so bad to just make it stop. To pluck her and the kids out of there house and take them away to somewhere safe, but you can't. You can't if she won't allow it. You can't if she has stopped talking to her family. You can't if you live in another country and don't even fully understand her culture and way of life. Really you can't do anything but feel sad and exhausted and ready to cry if you think about it too long.
Yeah, this isn't a fun trip. These trips to Israel never are but this one is something special. It does emphasize to me that I need to start taking a more active role keeping up the family connections. I relied on Dad and his wife to do that. Dad can't anymore and his wife is overwhelmed. So, I have been getting everyone's phone numbers and email. I will start calling more often. I will offer my ear and my love. That is what I can do.
Grateful for: hope.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I'm frustrated with myself because I get grumpy with people. I'm so good for so long and then, bam, I've hit my limit and I get a little short. DON'T tell me I made a wrong turn! Yes, I know I made a mistake. I will correct it if you give me a chance. I will ask for help if I need it. But those people (stepmother) who are telling me what to do (aka providing helpful suggestions) can't stop either. They are fighting all their instincts to sit quietly by and let me do my thing. What I don't understand about Susan is how she seems to want to maximize the time AWAY from our Israeli family. They are exhausting and spending time at their house means a lot of waiting around--but isn't being with them the entire reason we're here? Shouldn't we be maximizing it?
Anyway. Anyway. Things are ok. Saw my niece who has stopped talking to everyone. I saw her kids, her husband. Everyone seems fine, healthy, happy, and, in the case of the 2-year-old, screaming. I was able to report back to my brother (B2). He was glad but it doesn't resolve the bigger picture, which has to do with my niece's father-in-law. I'm not comfortable getting into it all...but this man is bad news. I was at least reassured that inside the family circle the relationships and behavior seemed normal. Not that one visit can tell everything...or possibly anything. Also she called her sister--the one getting married--the next day. Doubt that had much to do with me, but it probably had something to do with seeing me and her grandparents as a visible reminder of what is going on with the rest of the family. So, she called, and maybe that will be a first step to reconnecting. Being isolated and cut off is painful for everyone. If she can reconnect that will be a start.
What else? A funny thing about this trip is that I am still in touch with my two friends who I text with regularly. One is Marty, who I've coached to being supportive as I unburden the story of Israel. The other is my friend, Dan, who I met a bit over a year ago via a Facebook group. He's 20 years younger than me but we've become quite good friends. He even drove me to the airport! Anyway, he probably texts me once a day--nothing deep usually. We've kept up a more irregular communication while I've been abroad. It makes my travels more enjoyable. I didn't have people to hang out with in Paris, but I had Dan and Marty and the FB group to chat with when I got home after a long day of touring. In Paris, I even met one of the FB group members for a drink! In Israel, it provides that lifeline back home. Helps keep me a bit grounded and maybe I'm less grumpy because of it? Have to work on the grumpiness.
Grateful for: friends, near and far.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Things are good here. It's too hot. I'm surviving Spesh's vegan diet--I don't eat meat around him but when we eat out I'm merely vegetarian. Israel is actually a good place to be vegan-- falafel, hummus, and most of the salads don't have eggs or dairy. He keeps telling me he "eats well." I have to take his word for that.
I am here for a wedding. My youngest and last remaining Israeli niece is getting married on Sunday. I'm sad and happy. The great-niece/nephew count is up to 15. Two more are in utero.
I head to Jersualem tomorrow morning. I will be shuffling around a bit. I am renting a car and will be the shuttle service for my dad and stepmother. Dad really can't drive anymore. I'm happy to help but dreading the driving a bit. Jerusalem traffic and street patterns are difficult. I have driven there quite a bit but it was really nice when I could trade off with Dad. It's no picnic getting old for any of us.
Another niece is having problems that she confided to a sister but is now denying. When my brother (B2) confronted her, she stopped speaking to him. I'm wading into this a bit but I'm not going to confront her. I called her directly and plan to visit her tomorrow afternoon. My idea is to listen and be her friend. Maybe I can build a bridge back to her parents? I wish this weren't happening...but I'm here and I'm going to try and do my bit.
Grateful for: fortitude.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Sunday, June 19, 2016
I was really, really upset on Thursday when it all came out.
Thursday night, I had a first date. As you might imagine, it didn’t go great. He was reasonably patient as I vented all over him…but I could see he was distracted and…bored? Or maybe confused. I rarely get as distressed as I was that night and pretty much never with a stranger. I was sort of hoping that he’d be a good, sympathetic listener and maybe provide some comfort. I assumed that, even under those circumstances, we wouldn’t have a second date. We did eventually move on to other topics but I dominated the conversation. That’s not always death but sometimes it is. I don’t expect to hear from him again (haven’t yet) and I have no plans to contact him. At some point in the middle of the date, he asked me to give it a grade and I said B- or C+ and he agreed. But, hey, I’ve had worse dates! He wasn’t an asshole or anything.
I was also texting with some friends and that helped. I have a few people I can talk to who understand and they helped me work though my feelings.
On Friday, I talked to another boss, a VP, at my company about the situation. He seemed to blame me, “This is a small town, you can’t burn bridges.” Wow. As though I didn’t try everything I could to repair things (maybe I didn't? I sure remember trying). At the same time, he also said I shouldn’t worry about it too much, they would keep me on the project, and I’d have work in the future. Both this boss and my direct supervisor told me stories about similar situations where someone took a dislike to them and wanted them off projects. The VP emphasized that they had to keep the client happy. He also gave me a mini-lecture about how I had to stop interrupting in meetings and do a better job listening. I pushed back on that—it was particularly galling because it’s the critique the horrible ex-supervisor used to give me. And it’s really unfair since I listen hard to other people and wait until I think the time is right to jump in. I think it’s a gendered critique and I told the VP that. But I also said I was willing to take any suggestions about how to change my behavior—that I would do any specific thing he asked. And I gave an example where I’d taken his advice in the past and changed the way I ran a certain kind of meeting. I have known this guy a long time, so I think it’s ok to have a frank discussion with him. The irony is that he’s actually a terrible listener! Oh well. I will talk to him again next week and make sure he understands I was upset and make sure everything is cool.
I did tell my direct boss about this exchange and he is totally with me. He got a similar mini-lecture from the VP about being a better listener. Haha! So, at least the person most directly in charge of me gets it.
I am feeling ok today but I had a kind of crazy whiplash experience where for a day I was thrown back into the past and had a concentrated dose of trauma. I talked to a friend from the old job who is working on the project in question. He said he defended me to the ex-supervisor, which was heartening. He said she was just upset because I didn’t like her. I reminded him that I didn’t start out disliking her. I was open to working with her but over time, it became impossible to bear her management style. I wanted to like her. I wanted to keep my job. She won. Can’t that be enough?
I stayed home all day yesterday. I was totally knocked out. I knit and knit and knit. I watched movies, tv, and knit and knit. Today, I’m feeling pretty back to normal. I’m going to try and keep the past in the past.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Last weekend, I went on a 17-mile organized bike ride in DC. I rode more like 20 since I biked to the start. For the ride, the streets of DC were closed, which was pretty cool. It was cold and damp but I’m glad it was cool! We got to ride over the Whitehurst Freeway! That was fun. I hope they have it next year, I’ll happily pay the fee and go again. Yesterday, I did another long bike ride—25 miles total—and it was pretty rough. It was nearly 90 degrees and I was dragging. On the long uphill of the first half of the ride, I was way behind the rest of the group. I didn’t have this problem last weekend and I figure it has to be the heat. At any rate, I survived and rode the whole way home. Physically, I feel fine today, which is kind of amazing. I was sure I’d be more sore. My shoulders are stiff, but that’s because I started up my shoulder exercises again this week. Biking may have exacerbated it a bit, it’s not the main cause. Anyway, it’s cool to be able to do these medium distances. I’d like to work up to 50 miles, but that probably isn’t in the cards for this summer. We’ll see.
Work continues well. The project I was working on got wrapped up quickly when my boss said he’d done some editing. I realized that I had to share my major reorganization with him so he wouldn’t be wasting his time. I managed to wrap it up in a day. He commented the next day, and we sent it to the editors on Friday. Deadlines. That’s what I need! However, with that project wrapped, I have to figure out what’s next. I have been working slowly and steadily on another project, which will now have to be the focus. It needs to wrap up someday too and I still don’t have a handle on the timeline. That’s what I’ll figure out next week.
And men…dating…all is well. Still involved with my two not-boyfriends. Liking them both for the very different people they are. Enjoying my interactions with both of them. Mostly. Marty continues to get me riled up. I wonder if that’s something I want? I know fighting is sort of my weakness. I hate it. I really hate it. But it also feels “normal” since I grew up with parents who fought constantly. Sometimes I get angry at Marty and I don’t even understand why. But Ian…I can’t even imagine getting angry at him. I’m not even annoyed with him anymore now that I understand his sense of humor better. I do wonder how sustainable this situation is, but so far so good. I still fit in other socializing—I went to a reception for the volunteers for the tutoring I’ve been doing last week. The best conversation I had was with a woman about her studies in theoretical linguistics. She’s moving to England so it’s not like we’re going to hang out, but oh well. I’m in a good place right now—a good balance. Work is pleasant, socializing is good, I have enough to alone time to recharge. I’m on the bike, I’m cooking at home. Sure, I haven’t vacuumed in a month, but nobody’s perfect.
Grateful for: balance.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
I’m still really happy with the new iPad but I'm struggling to figure out the best way to use it for blogging. I did find one app that works pretty well but it doesn’t put in paragraph breaks and I couldn’t get them to register even when I edited the HTML code. Weird. That means two editing runs, which is a pain. I’m trying something else today. Typing the post in an editor (Word for iPad) and cut and pasting to the web. That means I don’t have to be online for the writing, just the posting, but it’s still a two-step process, which I was hoping to avoid.
I have my trip to Israel and PARIS planned. Three nights in Paris. Three nights with Spesh in Tel Aviv, then the rest of the time in Jerusalem with the family. A bit over two weeks in total. I have found my AirBnB in Paris, rented the car in Israel, sent everyone my itinerary. I am knitting some hedgehogs for the unknown number of new arrivals in the Israeli next generation. One hedgehog is almost done and I hope to get up to three more completed before the trip. I’m also bringing some scarves and a vest I knitted months and months ago. I’m going to have to check a bag…seriously!...to accommodate the wealth of knitted goods.
And dating. Ok, so things remain kind of the same but I have also started seeing a new guy, Ian. He’s growing on me. He is definitely easier to deal with than Marty. These two are quite a contrast. One is tall and heavy, the other is short and medium. One is reactive and can be emotional, the other is calm no matter what. It’s not a case of mash them together and get one perfect guy…it’s more that they are so extremely different that I find it an enjoyable counterpoint. Marty involves some emotional effort on my part and he often leaves me feeling exhausted. The benefit is that sometimes I feel a real connection with him. Ian is very easy to deal with, though sometimes I he annoys me. But he doesn’t care and never gets angry. That’s helped me relax with him more. Because he’s mellow, there’s no strain to be with him, but I feel at a bit of a remove with him. The last time I saw him, he really started to open up and told me a lot about his family and I felt closer to him.
Altogether this is a strange situation and not one I ever expected to be in. I have mixed feelings about it. I like that I have people to connect with and spend time with. I think I would still prefer one “regular” boyfriend but I also have a lot of freedom and my day-to-day routine is the same as it ever was. From one perspective, this is an ideal situation. So, I dunno. I guess I’ll keep going for now but stop if I’m getting unhappy or frustrated.
Grateful for: freedom.
Saturday, May 07, 2016
I looped back to the favorite local coffee shop, where I am now. Next is the farmer’s market and then home for a “condo work day.” A few hours of clearing trash and pulling weeds around the property with my neighbors. We did this once last year and it was good. And the rest of the day? Who knows. Take a nap? Go to a movie?
In general, things are going well. I picked up another assignment at work and now I’d say I’m comfortably busy. Dating…there is a little. I had a proper date this week, in fact. He was enthusiastic but I wasn’t. Marty still lingers but we’re talking less and that’s good. I feel ok. Kind of level, even, calm. I’ll take it. Oh, and it looks like I’m going to Israel in June. Dad is going and asked me to join so I will. Will I try and stop in London or Paris on the way? How long will I stay? Gotta decide and get my tix today or tomorrow! That does stress me out a bit, but it’s a good problem to have.
Sunday, May 01, 2016
So that was real money. As much as a computer. Anyway, so I go to load my blogging app--and it no longer exists. I was using Blogsy--but it turns out they have stopped developing it and you can't get it in the iTunes store. Sad! The developers couldn't get it to work with the most recent iOS and couldn't make money--they folded up shop. Blogger has an app--or they did. It's gone too. Wordpress has an app but then I'd have to convert the entire blog to Wordpress...so much work for a blog I post on once a month! Finally, I found the app I'm using now, BlogPad Pro. We'll see if it works. So, first big purchase--the iPad.
Next, I've been thinking about a fancy folding bike. It's a good idea, almost positive I'd use it a lot but it's real money and I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger.
Then I look around my house. I got this beautiful mid-century modern sofa set a few years ago but I don't love it. It's not comfortable for sitting. It wiggles. It's ok but not for me. It came with a coffee table and two end table--I don't need all that. The room is too full. I want a change. But then there are so many decisions to make...new sofa. New coffee table. What to do with my second sofa (yes, I have two now)...
And I need a new rug. The one I have in the living room is too small for the space. A while ago, a friend suggested I get some built-in bookcases in the dining area. She's right. It's a good idea. But another decision.
How long will be here? Am I accepting this forever single life as my fate? But if I move in a year, it won't have hurt to put a few grand into making the place more comfortable. I have the money--I'm lucky. I can afford all these changes. I pretty much know what I like. I could do it. But how do I get myself to start?
Grateful for: options.
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
I'm fond of aphorisms and one of my favorites is "no news is good news." I said it someone recently and they had never heard of it. We had to talk it through. I will spare you but let's just say that my life isn't very exciting right now and that's good news. Work rumbles along and it's not too stressful. I need a bit more to do but I think that will come. I am still really happy to back to my area of expertise. It's not even that so much--I would've been happy to learn new things, if only those things weren't so dreadfully dull and combined with an impossible to satisfy client and more tasks than I could reasonably accomplish. I've had a few new challenges in my new division. I think I will still have a chance to learn and grow.
My other challenge is to be more outgoing, do more things and try and meet people. I'm going to do more of the bike-related volunteering, which I totally skipped out on last Spring/Summer. I need to put myself in the way of meeting new people. I need some new life in my social circle. All my dating is from apps and that's just crazy. It works for meeting people but has never been a source of more than the briefest of "relationships." Well, except for Marty, who is still there, lingering in the background--and often in the foreground. He is reason enough to push to meet more people. While we continue to get along well, he's just not going to fill the boyfriend role completely. We have had some ups and downs but seem to deal with them ok. It helps that I don't see him every day so there is plenty of time to cool down and regroup. That isn't always possible with a boyfriend and when the expectations are higher. I do sometimes start to think about him as a boyfriend...but that's a mistake. It's something I have to keep my eye on, that's all.
At any rate, I'm generally much happier, calmer, more content than I have been for years. I still need to do stuff like clean out a bunch of junk from my house (like, always), decide whether I should sell my car (driven sometimes less than once a month!), and exercise more regularly. But work is good. I have a weekly volunteer tutoring gig that I really enjoy, I have friends...so no complaints. No bad news, at least for now.
Grateful for: the calm.